I'd like to think that I'm one of the biggest New Edition Fans you'll ever meet.
May 2016. To date, I had already released what I want to say is the ultimate of New Edition mixes separated in fast tempo and slow jam versions. How did this mix idea come about or why would I do this again?
Around that time, I thought: Hey, it would be dope to get to collaborate with 'so-and-so". It was an odd coincidence that, that very day it came up in a conversation with Scotty Fox that New Edition was in concert with Babyface. He mentioned the idea of a collab. Of course I jumped on that because Scotty doesn't do mixes with anyone and, HELLO?--it's Scotty fucking Fox!
We sat on this idea for months. And sat, it did. I asked him when he thought we should release it. He said June. Already laughing at that. June! We released the mix at the end of July. We got it done later than we wanted. "Filipino time".
THE PROCESS: PROJECT SECRET SQUIRREL
The process for this mix was different than what DJ Remark and I did for the Janet Jackson Tribute ESCAPADE, which was more like a lottery of songs written on paper and picked by my daughter. Scott put on his 'Corporate World Workplace" hat on and compiled all the NE and Babyface songs in an Excel spreadsheet. Our song selections were acquired by way of a Draft. Back and fourth. One by one, we picked our songs. Alcohol may or may not have been involved.
Now that I had my list of songs, I thought to myself: Okay, I've done this before, but I had put my best foot forward already with my original tribute mixes. What did I get myself in to? Can I possibly even make what I thought was good better?
Well, those mixes were about 4 years old. I assessed my old mixes. I was analyzing where I fell short and what I did well and ultimately, how to make it better.
I'm not gonna lie. I was a bit nervous. I practiced. I practice all the time. Sometimes, I play music right off the turntables in the song's entirety. I sip my wine (cuz I wine every day). I listen. This was sometimes hard to do with two girls in the house especially my youngest, whom is much like me. She is always talking, interrupting, laughing, trying to sneak up on you to scare you, asking questions, asking questions, asking questions. Did I mention she loves to ask questions? Well then.
This part of the process was fun because the girls saw me work. They saw me think and work on the task. They saw me frustrated and sometimes ignore them (kinda) because I had my headphones on and listening to the music loudly. It wasn't THAT serious, right? But oh it WAS? I have a chance to work with a DJ I respect, is well known, and extremely good at what he does. I had to fucking pull my weight and not suck. I doubted myself, but once I laid shit down. I was in my element.
I record all my practice sessions. I exported my edits. I listened to them in the car. My babies definitely know New Edition and Babyface songs by now. Shoot. They'd better. That's all they got to hear for at least a week straight. JK, kinda.
So how do we freak this? Solid set then switch-half/half format? I was thinking that's how it would work out because it's just easier; kinda like doing a club set. It was Scotty's idea to kind of tag team. We ended up tagging in and tagging out. So we went back and forth, In n Out. Wax on. Wax off. I liked that because we got to play off each other's sets. We used a lot of dialog and skits to work out transitions. Mostly from the Heart Break album, which was one of my faves though, sans Bobby. *bloop*
(Cue Jeopardy waiting music)
1 day prior to release. I may have been feeling slightly burned out with work/life balance. One way I handle this is to be silly-in a very dry way. I told Scott that he needed a new logo or it would be our mix cover.
So, uh. When are we gonna put this together? We literally wrapped this mix up Wednesday morning. Scotty had the master. I hadn't even worked on the cover art.
"And that night, I played the wall. Checkin out the fellas; the high and lows. Keepin' one eye open still"....
CLOCKIN THE HOES
Why do we keep referencing this line? When I drafted the song Poison, I was like "boom". Scotty was like, "I don't care. I don't want that song anyway". *as I roll my eyes* Classic Scotty.
I had edited Poison down 2 times. It was my last edit of the mix. Poison is so well known, even with the younger generation who don't realize BBD is a branch of New Edition (smh). I had to flip it. I added a subtle layer of the Kool G Rap & Polo in my original NE mix. I went a step further and doubled it up and put in the whole first verse of the root sample.
Scotty and I got in to a discussion of how some of those lines BBD had that were unacceptable in music during the 90s like "The low pro hoe should be cut like an afro", and our favorite "Clockin the hoes". This is an on-going phrase we use in our daily conversations. It kind of is like our "Hi. How are you today?" greeting.
WHAT ARE WE NAMING IT?
Boy this was tough because I think we were mostly joking about titles. Some of the ideas were:
- Hey The Concert Is On Saturday, Here's a Mix (Scotty Fox) I personally liked this one
- Boomerang (360)
- NewFace (Scotty Fox)
- Word to Tha Babyface (360)
- Mabuhay Master Mix (Scotty Fox)
- Papyrus Sparkles (360)
- Clockin the 'hose' (Scotty Fox)
- For the Cool In You (360)
- For the HeartBreak In You (Scotty Fox)
- Ronnie, Baby, Ricky, Mike (360)
- Ain't Nothin Changed (Scotty Fox)
- Stynki Jynki and the Otter Fox (both)
We FORTUNATELY arrived at "Once In A Lifetime Groove". Fairly appropriate. I was going through my set list and threw it out there with Scott. He liked it. It's perfect. I'm taking credit for it. *sticking tongue out*
"This is dedicated to you. So, sit back and let us entertain you."
I slapped some cover art together like right before uploading the mix. I almost forgot to send it to Scotty for approval.
"Ok. Here we go...."
The mix was released on to Mixcrate on July 27th, 2016. It hit the Top (5) Played Mixes list in less than 24 hours. It ran up to the #1 position quickly and held the spot for the duration of the week. THANK YOU everyone for playing and sharing it! Damn, you guys are amazing!
How amazing it was to be amongst a bunch of friends who also love New Edition and Babyface at the Concord Pavilion? It was especially dope to share that with my fellow DJ and dear friend, Scotty Fox! Yay! It was almost like a celebration. We put this collab out and we got to dance to the music.
Some highlights (besides the concert itself):
- Tackling J-Stretch on the lawn SEE IT HERE
- The Kevin Hart "slide-out" routine
- The Bar
- Seeing old school friends and fam
- Making new friends
- Watching Alex snapchat
- Breaking off from the group and not sure where the group was at. O_O Texting: I'm lost!
- The gal behind us saying (to Johnny) "Finish the song. Just finish the damn song...."
- Dude! Where's my car? I knew this was going to be a problem after parking.
I had never been to the Concord Pavilion before. In the midst of swaying and singing to Babyface's music, I stopped and noticed how breathtaking the view was. I stopped and lightweight smiled as I absorbed the scenery; the backdrop of seemingly endless mountains kissed by that "golden hour" kind of sun. It indeed was my favorite part of the night.
POST MIX SPRINT RETRO
There are things things I've caught in playback that I had wished I had done. And, maybe only 1 thing I wished Scotty would have done.
1. NE Heartbreak. I should have flipped that song. I kind of left it pretty basic. Maybe for the next New Edition Tribute. Haha JK
2. I really, really, wished Scotty let the Glenn Medeiros joint play for two full verses. I forgot about that song. I told him "I got in to it, was happy, then the damn DJ fucking cut the song out..." haha I can say things like that to him (respectfully). He responded (in another conversation), "Fck Glenn Medeiros." Again. Classic Scotty.
3. Scott really killed his sets as usual. It was amazing to hear someone else's musical perspective and how he handled the tracks. It was good energy and really brought that spicy paprika pumpernickel pepper that the mix needed. lol
4. Overall we did pretty good on mixing up tempos and taking you on a journey. I had a few slow jams on my roster but opted not to play them because I did that already for Heartbreak II. Scotty took them and continued on to play slow songs. He ended the mix with Can You Stand the Rain. Fade out to the sound of rain. Beautiful.
5. There were some level/volume problems that I feel could have been fixed in the mastering process. Jumped the gun a bit. It's fine.
6. This experience was fun. The Draft, planning, joking, the NOT joking (read: light arguing), discussing music, debating (read: light arguing), and executing was amazing! Attending the concert was icing--so much fun!
First of all, thank you to Scotty Fox for doing this with me. You are an incredible DJ, but I already know what your response will be. I'll leave it at that. Giraffes and Foxes make good friends.
Music is my heart ya'll. I don't do this to be popular or stay relevant. I do this because my Daddy and my Uncle raised me to know and love music. This is my shit. This is what I love doing outside of the career I love. So, thank you so much for listening and for the crazy love you've given! It makes all this time so worth it!